Jan 7, 2010

On my way to the first Supercross of 2010

I’m half-way through my American Airline flight 1425 from O’Hare to Orange County-Santa Ana Airport and listening to Steve Matthes’ podcast of Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andre Short.
I think that I was pretty lucky to get out of Chicago this morning, ahead of the heavier part of that huge Winter Storm that’s hitting the city. My drive to the airport was pretty slow but not too bad despite the 2 inches of snow that blanketed the roads in some parts. Of course our plane was late at the gate and we departed late, after 2 series of de-icing but it’s been pretty smooth up here at 38,000 feet.
So Steve and Shorty are previewing the SX season, talking a lot about the #15 of course (just kidding) and it made me think about Kevin Windham a bit. What is K-Dub going to do this season? He has been one of the greatest motocross and supercross riders in the US, has come so close so many times to win a major title, won many Outdoor Nationals and Supercross races but never got consecration. He is back riding the 450 Factory Connection Honda and will line-up again for the AMA SX series but what can K-Dub really do? It’s hard to say, and hard to accept that someone of his level and class cannot fight for podiums or titles anymore, but I think that his chances are gone. Of course Windham is fast and of course he has what it takes to make Top 5, but it is going to be very hard for him to beat RV, Josh Grant, Josh Hill, Shorty, Millsaps and even support-Yamaha guys like Reardon and Tedesco on a weekly basis.
Like I wrote before – and like everyone has been saying – the2010 450 class is stacked up! There’s no shortage of fast guys and talented rookies like Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey (who will be wearing the #5 that he stole from Johnny O’Mara, Ricky Johnson and Mile Larocco!). It’s going to be tough for the #14 and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last SX season.
(Just done listening to Shorty, now on Rich Taylor’s podcast)
It will be good watching him ride though; K-Dub - who’s one of my wife’s favorite riders after RC, Stewart and our friend DV934 - is one of the smoother riders out in the recent history of SX and MX. For the 4 or 5 of you who are reading this, make sure you go to some SX races this year to watch him race.
 (Rich Taylor is actually a very interesting guy, and I can never respect enough someone who has the courage to start his own company in 21st Century USA, and a motocross goggle brand at that, probably one of the most saturated segment in the off-road market.)
2 days before the first race of the year.  Josh Grant took a big digger this week, breaking his nose but nothing else and should be on for A1 although he might not be 100%. Apart from Stewart and Reed, I still think that Davi Millsaps, Josh Hill, Ryan Dungey, Josh Grant and RV will be the guys fighting for Top 5. I do not see Tedesco racing in that Top 5 and I don’t think that Reardon122 will consistently get in there. I know that a good amount of people believe  Justin Brayton is going to be a threat, as strong as those I previously named, but I am not convinced he can be there this season. No doubt JB114 is very fast, matured a lot, has become a stronger racer and will benefit a ton from the move to the JGR Yamaha 450. But I don’t think that he has that killer instinct, constant starvation for victory you see in JS7, Reed, RV, Grant, Barcia, and De Coster, Lackey, Hannah, Bailey, Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward, JMB, Stanton, McGrath or RC before. Andrew Short is bit like Brayton actually.
I still believe in Hill and Millsaps and see them doing very well this season.
                As soon as I land, grab my Ogio back and my Alamo rental car, I have to rush to Angel Stadium and the AMA Supercross press-conference to work on Davi’s helmet and arrange his cheek-pads. Unfortunately his race helmets only got painted yesterday and couldn’t be used for the Red Bull rider intro, which I am a bit upset about. We’ve rushed to get things going but after the first 2 races, all should be smooth and tuned.
Gautier Paulin has already been practicing with his AGV AX-8, which is pretty cool. I just need to add an AGV sticker on the front, somewhere.
Darn! 2 more hours to go before touchdown. 46 minutes to go in Rich Taylor’s podcast after that I’ll be back reading Racer X and the last Powersport Business newspaper.